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Battle of Erquelinnes
Part of War of the First Coalition
Erquelinnes Vi1a JPG
The village of Erquelinnes in 2009
Date 20–24 May 1794
Location Erquelinnes, Belgium
Result Austro-Dutch victory
Belligerents
Habsburg Monarchy Habsburg Austria
Dutch Republic Dutch Republic
France First French Republic
Commanders and leaders
Habsburg Monarchy Graf von Kaunitz France Louis Charbonnier
Strength
24,000 30,000
Casualties and losses
650 5,400, 32 guns, 3 colors



The Battle of Erquelinnes or Battle of Péchant (20–24 May 1794) saw a Republican French army led by Louis Charbonnier try to advance across the Sambre River against a combined Habsburg Austrian and Dutch army led by Franz Wenzel, Graf von Kaunitz-Rietberg. After crossing the Sambre on the 20th and repelling an Allied attack on the 21st, the French were attacked and routed on the 24th. The battle represented the second of five French attempts to gain a foothold on the north bank of the Sambre. The action occurred during the War of the First Coalition, part of a larger conflict called the Wars of the French Revolution. Erquelinnes is a village in Belgium directly on the border with France. It is situated about 30 kilometres (19 mi) southwest of Charleroi.

The French government resorted to mass conscription which swelled the ranks of its armies with large numbers of recruits. The spring of 1794 saw almost constant fighting in the Austrian Netherlands, as the First Coalition armies strained to hold off the numerically superior but qualitatively inferior French. After being beaten at the Battle of Grandreng in his first attempt to cross the Sambre, Charbonnier was urged to try again. After his second failure he was arrested and sacked, though he escaped the guillotine. Third and fourth attempts under other generals would result in defeats at the battles of Gosselies on June 3 and Lambusart on 16 June. The French were finally successful on the fifth try in the Battle of Fleurus on 26 June 1794.

ReferencesEdit

Coordinates: 50°18′N 4°7′E / 50.3°N 4.117°E / 50.3; 4.117

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